NASCAR CUP SERIES
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 4, 2020
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference and discussed his discussion with Bubba Wallace and other drivers about what is currently going on in the USA. Full Transcript:
WHAT IMPACTED YOU THE MOST IN YOUR CONVERSATION WITH BUBBA WALLACE ON INSTAGRAM THE OTHER NIGHT? HOW HAS THAT MAYBE GUIDED ANYTHING THAT YOU’VE DONE OR THOUGHT ABOUT SINCE THAT CONVERSATION WITH HIM?
“I’ve known Bubba since I was 13 when I first started racing and Bubba Wallace was one of the first kids I met at the race track or followed and knew. Kind of when you go to the race track, you’re first thing is to figure out who is the best. Bubba was younger than me, but in the class that he was in, he was the best. So, I always watched him. And we knew each other and then we ended up racing against each other. So our whole careers have been kind of a mirror back and forth. I am a little bit older than Bubba. So, I’ve known him my whole career and growing up and have seen him grow up as well, and to hear the stories about how Bubba was treated in some of those situations and knowing Bubba’s character and knowing him as a human being, that blew my mind because I would have never thought Bubba as a person, would have gone through anything like that. But, I think that’s just what it is. I think sometimes it’s easy for us who don’t know, as a white man or a white person, in general, we don’t know these stories. We don’t all the time ask the right questions to become informed. And just hearing what he’s gone through in his career and having to deal with people, on top of being a good race car driver, which makes people not like you always, but the color of his skin being something that he’s had to battle too in his career and will have to continue to battle. I think just hearing those stories impacted me in just saying that Bubba’s going through this, so is everyone else that looks like him, so why can’t we emphasize to learn more and hear the stories so that we can help make a change, have the right verbiage in our communities and in our groups, so that this problem doesn’t continue on.”
THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW SPORTS THAT’S ACTIVE RIGHT NOW. I KNOW YOU ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THINGS ON YOUR OWN, AS MANY PEOPLE ARE, BUT WITH THE PLATFORM THAT THIS SPORT AND ITS COMPETITORS HAVE THIS WEEKEND, THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS, I UNDERSTAND THAT. BUT ARE THERE ANY TYPES OF THINGS BEYOND WHAT’S BEEN SAID OR DONE SO FAR THIS WEEK THAT CAN BE DONE COMMUNITY-WIDE, OR IS THAT BEST LEFT TO EACH INDIVIDUAL TO KIND OF FIGURE OUT HOW TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES?
“I think obviously anything that’s said or expressed has to come from a true heart, so that does come from the individual. But I think it does take, as a group, saying that we don’t stand for it. And once we all know that we’re all on the same page as saying we don’t stand for it, we come together with a united voice saying that we don’t tolerate hate, racism, bigotry in our sport and that it’s not okay. And there’s great conversations going on with the folks in our sport on this in planning a united front to make a statement. And I’m very proud of that. Our sport is doing a good job, but it also takes the individuals who aren’t afraid to step out and say this isn’t about me anymore. And that’s tough in our sport because our sport is all about being number one and having the most influence as far as followers and sponsorship and being up front, it’s a very selfish motivated sport. That’s just what it is. There’s one winner in our sport. And there’s usually a bunch of losers trying to figure out how to get there. So our mindset, our whole career from the time we are 12 or 13, which are very impactful years in a human being’s life, is trying to figure out how to get yourself there. And, for one time, for the drivers and everybody in NASCAR who have worked so hard to get to this place, we have a platform where there are people that we can influence and be true leaders. And being a true leader, you don’t make it about yourself. It’s about the others in life. So, I think there’s great conversations going on around how we can make this a united front and voice that hopefully helps change. And make it not about being scared anymore to acknowledge that there is something wrong here.”
WHAT RESPONSE HAVE YOU RECEIVED ON SOCIAL MEDIA? IS THERE ANY HESITATION IN RACING, BECAUSE YOU ARE A LARGELY WHITE SPORT, WITH A LARGELY WHITE AND CONSERVATIVE AUDIENCE ABOUT GETTING OUT AND TACKLING SUCH A TOPIC AS THIS?
“Yeah, I think it’s something to certainly a lot of people consider. And it keeps a lot of people who feel strongly about this subject from saying things. And it’s tough. And, I’m not one to say hey, you need to speak up and tell other people what to do.
“For me, I can tell you about my heart on it and for me, I don’t care if I ever win a race or a championship in my life or lose every follower I have on Instagram or sponsor that I have, but when my children grow older and I take my last breath, I want to be made sure that I was on the right side of what I felt is going on in history. And that means way more than acquiring fame and trophies and wins. Those things all fade away. But the impact you had on human beings in your life, the relationship lasts forever. So, that’s my heart behind this. I know some people might not feel the same as me and I understand that, as well. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I just wanted to stop, in the middle of my career, and say hey, this is where I stand and there is the taunting in your head of what if I lose this or what if something happens. But, I know at the end of the day, this is what I believe in and I’ll stand up for what I believe in.”
WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN THAT YOU’VE RECEIVED SO FAR?
“It’s been very positive. I’ve had a really great reaction. Obviously, there’s the few that don’t agree. But, I’m not looking for someone to agree with me. I’m just talking about how I feel on the subject. You can’t do anything in this day without making one person mad or somebody else happy, but this is who I am . I want to use my platform to talk about things that matter to me, whether it makes some people uncomfortable, or not. So, in general, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. And so, that’s been really great.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK NASCAR, AS A SPORT, CAN DO MOVING FORWARD TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE ISSUES AND MAYBE LACK OF REPRESENTATION THAT HAS BEEN HISTORICALLY PART OF THE SPORT?
“I think the unfortunate thing that there has been in the past, a bit of a stigma about our sport, as being not accepting and kind of an underlying racist tone to our sport that I know doesn’t exist in the sanctioning body and in the drivers and in the sport, at an intimate level outside of what the fans and maybe the media get to see. I think there’s a lot of great-hearted people in our sport. But also, this is a time for us to speak up and confirm that. And so, like I said earlier, there’s a lot of great conversation going on and I think we all understand, as a group of drivers, our input, and NASCAR as a body, which is great. We’re all working together in that we have to change it. We have to make sure that the message isn’t just for right now. That we come together and come up with a plan that senses who NASCAR is today, tomorrow, and forever. So, there’s been a lot of great discussions of how we’re going to move forward and make sure that we move out of this narrative of the past, that all of these drivers that I feel like are in Cup and in the sport now, never wanted to inherit that tag or title. But, this is the time for us to change it for history. And I think we have a lot of passionate leaders in our group that are working together with everyone to try to encourage great change.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE ATHLETES HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE THEY DO HAVE THIS PLATFORM? LIKE MICHAEL JORDAN’S COMMENT OF EVEN REPUBLICANS BUY SHOES’. WHAT’S YOUR STANCE ON THAT?
“Yeah, I can’t really speak to Michael Jordan. I can just speak to my heard as far as what leadership means to me. And, I think every human being has a role in leadership in their life and whether you own a business or are a professional athlete, the amount of people that you might lead can be different. But, it’s all-important. To me the most important leadership I have is to my wife and to my kids. So, whether it’s your family, your friends that you spend time with in your small community, or it’s as a professional athlete. I have a platform of followers on Instagram that follow me. And much is given, there’s much expected. But it’s a blessing for me to have the following that I have and I can lead to the people that follow me and say hey, this is who I am and you can follow me in this way, or you can choose not to. But we all have opportunities to lead in life. And to have the excuse that you’re too small for people to care. No one in life is unimportant to not lead in some kind of way. I think once we all believe in ourselves in that way, we’ll start to change things.”
OBVIOUSLY YOU ALL HAVE A STRONG PLATFORM AND YOUR WORDS CAN SPEAK VOLUMES. BUT HAS THERE BEEN ANY DISCUSSION OR ACTION POINTS OR THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO BEYOND THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING AS FAR AS TRYING TO HELP UNDERSTANDING WITH WHAT’S GOING ON IN SOCIETY?
“Yeah, absolutely. There’s been some really great discussions privately behind the scenes with NASCAR, the executives in NASCAR, and all the drivers. So, I hope and expect soon that we’ll come out with a way of setting a tone with our hearts on this subject. So, I think the greatest thing that all of us can have is conversation. Conversation leads to change. Conversation leads to empathy and understanding. So, that’s happening. And, I first just want to say, I think Bubba Wallace’s strength to speak up during this time for our sport, has been awesome. And, I’m just proud of him as a friend, knowing him his whole career, too, and I think we’re going to see great things come out of this generation of NASCAR of who is in the sport right now. Hopefully it sets the tone for who comes after us. And for all of us, that would be the most important thing that we do.”
IS THERE ANYONE AT NASCAR DIRECTING THE DISCUSSION? IS IT SOMEONE WITHIN THE DIVERSITY PROGRAMS OR A POINT PERSON FOR THAT YET?
“Not yet. I think we’re in discussions that I think it’s coming from individuals. Right now it’s a lot of driver discussion with NASCAR saying let’s do this together. We want to be a part of it. NASCAR has confirmed their heart in this situation and are just backing the hearts of a lot of drivers in this. So, I’m excited. I think something great is going to come out of it and I think there is a group of real true leaders of drivers that are standing up and leading and so, I’m excited. I think there’s great opportunity here to hopefully make some changes.”
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